Sensing 'Historic Opportunity,' China Eyes 'Polar Silk Road' for Arctic

  (Photo by Roxanne Desgagnés via Unsplash)

(Photo by Roxanne Desgagnés via Unsplash)

Even as China is in the midst of its audacious Belt and Road Initiative, the Asian giant is looking to the far north for its next large-scale project, eyeing a "Polar Silk Road" amid melting icecaps.

"Global warming in recent years has accelerated the melting of ice and snow in the Arctic region. As economic globalization and regional integration further develops and deepens, the Arctic is gaining global significance for its rising strategic, economic values and those relating to scientific research, environmental protection, sea passages, and natural resources," says a white paper published today by the Chinese government, publicly outlining the nation's arctic policy. "China, as a responsible major country, is ready to cooperate with all relevant parties to seize the historic opportunity in the development of the Arctic, to address the challenges brought by the changes in the region."

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The paper explores potential economic interests from oil drilling to arctic tourism, as well as scientific and security concerns.

Seemingly aware of the trepidation the paper could cause for nations with lands in the arctic, including the U.S. and Russia, the paper makes repeated references to "international cooperation" and a "shared future."

"While pursuing its own interests, China will pay due regard to the interests of other countries and the broader international community," it says.

China says it stands by current international law regarding the arctic and supports the idea of a "a just, reasonable and well-organized Arctic governance system."

"The international community faces the same threat and shares the same future in addressing global issues concerning the Arctic," it says.

Read the Full Text: China's Arctic Policy (Xinhua)

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